Ephesians 4:7-13 ( NKJV )
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
As we have discussed the need to planted in a local church we have emphasized the fact that we need to be assembled together in order to accomplish the will of God in the earth. The church is a body and we are all a part of that body. No body part is designed to function alone whether in the spirit or in the natural. We also need to understand it is not just attendance that is necessary but to be rooted in the house of God. Ps. 92:12-13 tells us that those who are rooted flourish. If we are rooted we are committed, we are stationary, we are both receiving from the ground and giving back to it.
Today I want to talk about gifts. In Ephesians we find that God gave gifts to men. Some of those gifts are what we call the 5 fold ministry. They are the public offices such as pastor that lead the church. However they are not the only gifts to be given. God gave gifts to everyone. Some of the gifts are public and some behind the scenes but each one has a gift.
In 1 Corinthians 12-14 we find some of these gifts. In Romans 12 we find others. I don’t want to spend time going over them, I just want to point out that they exist and there are more than 5. You have a gift or gifts. Something that God has invested in you to equip you to fulfill the purpose for which He created you. How can you find that gift and where can you use it. I believe the scripture above answers that question.
We are familiar with the gifts in verse 11. Why did God give the gifts of apostle prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher? He gave them to perfect the rest of thee saints’ gifts so they can do the work of the ministry which leads to the building of the body of Christ. It is quite evident to me that God places all these gifts in the context of the local church. It is true they can sometime cross the boundaries of individual churches, but the implication here is that people are perfected to do work. These people live and work in local places.
The world cannot be changed from a remote location. People live in cities and towns and it is in those places that they must be touched. TV, radio, books and other types of media ministry have their place but Christianity is a personal relationship that must be communicated personally. There are a few people who may be raised up to travel or do some kind of ministry that puts them in a position to be known outside the local church, but the vast majority of people will never leave their locality. They are called to labor in a local field and to change their local world.
This is not a lower calling. It is the point of all callings. Every gift that is known beyond the local church really exists to build up the local church and it’s people, because that is the only arena where Christianity can be fully communicated. Jesus expects you to go into your city or your town and introduce Him to people. He expects you to do this work in the factory, the office, the school and the mall. Where are you going to be taught how? Where are the gifts God has given you to do this work going to be revealed, refined and released. In the local church. Where are you going to be changed into the image of Jesus that can communicate His life to others. In the local church
God has given you gifts personally. He has also given you corporate gifts. Those corporate gifts, the five fold ministry, exist to help you be released in God’s calling for your life. This process ensures that your gift will not be wasted but will be joined with other gifts so it’s effectiveness can be multiplied and the Kingdom of God can flourish in your world. That means your town, your city and the sphere of influence God has given your life.